Florida’s Next Commodity: Tea? (IFAS)

Florida’s Next Commodity: Tea?

It’s decidedly iced tea season in Florida, but whether you take your tea hot or iced, sweet or unsweet, black or green, the infused leaf in your cup could soon come from a Florida farm.

University of Florida researchers are investigating whether you can grow tea plants in the Sunshine State. Their findings from a yearslong trial at the UF/IFAS Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra are in the journal “HortTechnology,” a publication of the American Society for Horticultural Science.

For the trial, scientists tested seven tea “accessions” during years three to five of their growth, which includes the time the plants are expected to reach harvesting maturity. Researchers use the term “accessions” for any plant that does not yet have a cultivar name in the United States.

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